Born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867 on a Delta, Louisiana plantation, this daughter of former slaves transformed herself from an uneducated farm laborer and laundress into one of the twentieth century’s most successful, self-made women entrepreneurs.
Known as Madam C. J. Walker, she was the first African American woman millionaire in America, known not only for her hair straightening treatment and her salon system which helped other African Americans to succeed, but also her work to end lynching and gain women’s rights.
“This is the greatest country under the sun. But we must not let our love of country, our patriotic loyalty cause us to abate one whit in our protest against wrong and injustice. We should protest until the American sense of justice is so aroused that such affairs as the East St. Louis riot be forever impossible.”